It’s that time again. In my first years in America I would call the cable tv
people every four years, “Hello, I’d like to try your introductory offer.”
And when the World Cup was over l’d call back, “You can take it away now, I’m
“But for only… you could have…”
“Thank you, but that’s enough, a sufficiently, all I needed.”
The unintended consequence is that I’m television illiterate. It’s not that I
can’t work one, it’s that at first I point the remote at the wrong bit, and
don’t quickly understand how to find what I’m looking for. The result has been
that I watched some of Argentina’s match in Spanish, which I don’t speak, and
had to start my search for the England game an hour early.
The view at halftime was like the view at halftime when England lost to Italy
in the finals of the Euros. That’s because we are once again in Paradise.
There must be an equivalent in baseball, the team that always loses at the same
point and in the same way. England have gone out in the quarter finals more
times than anyone else. Quite often penalty kicks have been the issue. But
there was some novelty today: France scored two very good goals and not, say,
something caused by a player tripping on the grass. And England didn’t pass the
ball backwards and sideways all the time. But you can’t rely on a South
American ref to give you all the calls you want. England got two and … missed a
Yesterday evening I told my wife she looked hot and suggested she take a
shower. I did the dishes in spite of having been the one to cook. As I washed
up I thought, “ from another’s mouth, those words would have meant something
different, but don’t think I’ve ever called a woman hot.” Not an English word.
Beautiful, yes, sexy, yes, brilliant, yes. Just not hot.
I had thought that no one would ever claim a chicken as their spirit animal.
Here’s what I found: https://www.spiritanimals.org/chicken But it’s something ;
of a journey from my god- like status in relation to Mimo et al, to a role
reversal of sorts. You be the judge; the facts are as follows. I told Mimo
how impressed I was with one fortuitous twist. She cannot smile knowingly,
being dead, but if an ex-chicken could smile knowingly, I think she would have;
that was certainly my impression. L. and I have been customers of Talk Story
bookstore on Kauai for at least twenty years. Every time we visit, we find an
excuse to drop money there. For all I know it may be the only used bookstore on
the whole island; it’s certainly lovely. They’ve been playing the same slack
key cd for ages—one of my favorites of all time—and they have a shop cat, which
fact pleases my wife. The owner says the same thing time after time—“the cat
is grumpy and may bite. “ L. soon has it purring like a reader. My wife is
persuasive when it comes to lots of things, but with cats she’s something else.
There are books you stumble across and wonder, “How did that end up here?”
Nine leather- bound volumes of Robert Burns (one missing, says the description)
for three hundred dollars? And that’s the other thing— prices in Talk Story
are all over the place. A paperback on Hawaiian Material Culture, three
hundred dollars? A tattered paperback British mystery, set in Derbyshire, six
dollars. I found a first edition of an out- of -print hardback history of
pantomime for ten dollars. Who would buy that? Well when you read my next
essay— due out in January— you’ll see it’s just the book I want and need. I
didn’t know such a book existed, but it’s great. I felt almost guided to the
spot. A.E. Wilson, ‘King Panto; the Story of Pantomime,” published in 1935.
An eye-opening delight.
I’d describe our condo as the opposite of lipstick on a pig . In America that
phrase describes attempts to hide the flaws of something bad; our accommodation
is fundamentally sound, and it is in Hawaii, so who could complain? But
someone ignored hints from the beautiful Kia wood and moved in motel art and
flimsy chairs, the legs of which get stuck in raffia matting. Why is that laid
on top of a white carpet? I imagine there are stains underneath and the owner
thought this would be a good, inexpensive solution.
What archeological evidence is there of menehune occupation? The counters in
the bathrooms come up to my groin— to use a term from coverage of the World
Cup— and the mirrors are correspondingly low. Never seen any quite like these.
Our first thought was people in wheelchairs, accommodating disability, but the
bathrooms on a second floor—up steep stairs—the showers and toilets have no
rails. Now I know something of what it must be like to be tall.
Yes we are back in the islands, on a trip that was bought and paid for before
the scattering ashes one. Excessive, I know, but that’s serendipity for you.
As I told Mimo, you never know what’s around the corner.
“The one you don’t find in Hyde Park, where they allow speeches as long as
they’re not seditious.”
“This week you might ask some Germans. Or maybe not; I don’t know if they have
that word. You want to know why I’m so taken with this book?”
“It begins with Germans finding Pantomine, in which actors speak…illogical.”
“Quite right,” said Mimo, nodding wisely. “Mime should be silent. Stands to
I’d like to recommend another book I found by accident. It’s by Bella Chagall,
wife of Marc, and is called “Burning Lights.” Hannukah is approaching, so it’s
a seasonally appropriate title, but my point is the similarity between his
simple line illustrations and her prose. People tell her child self not to be
noisy because travelers from the train, who stay in the building where she
lives, are tired. “Why,” she asks, “are * they* tired when the train does all
The whales haven’t arrived offshore yet. I’d rather watch them than the rest of
the World Cup.
Sent from my iPad